Russell Simmons Eptiomizes Meditation’s Benefits

"Yoga has really helped me feel more comfortable with the idea of being present, the simpliest idea of spirituality, the power of now." -Russell Simmons

“Yoga has really helped me feel more comfortable with the idea of being present, the simplest idea of spirituality, the power of now.” -Russell Simmons

In my last post, I explained that hypnotherapy, is one form of meditation, and when practiced regularly, it will markedly improve the amount of success you achieve in your personal and professional lives; Russell Simmons epitomizes this concept. I believe it was last Tuesday when I saw Larry King interview Russell on his show Larry King Now.

Larry and Russell were discussing Russell’s new book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, and Russell explained how his discovery of meditation (specifically yoga) changed his life. I’m sure you’ve heard of Russell’s prepaid debit card called the Rush card – ironically, that card bears part of his nickname before he discovered meditation, Uncle Rush! In this clip, Russell tells Larry the story of how exactly he became addicted to the powerful peace of mind meditation gives him and how it’s impacted his career (watch from the beginning until about 7m30s):

Russell Simmons on Yoga and Meditation

What struck me the most is Russell’s cogent explanation of meditation being a practice; it may take a few minutes for our impatient minds to calm down, but once they do, stressful problems are easily solved. We must remember two key points:

  1. The adage that “Rome was not built in a day,” and

  2. the fable of the tortoise and the hare

Faster results and instant gratification is not always best.

Russell Simmons reaped such astounding benefits from the simple practice of meditation, and you can too!!

Now that you know that simple changes in your lifestyle can make a huge difference, I want to share with you the many ways we can transform our own lives by “exploiting” the expectations society places on us. We all have to eat, so why not use the  foods we have (ideally, organic) to continue to build and reinforce our Aphrodite Attitudes? The same idea can be applied for makeup, skin care products and fashion.

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Aphrodite Attitude Redefined

Embracing your inner goddess means honestly contemplating whether all three parts of you (mind, body and spirit) are truly in harmony on a regular basis.

Embracing your inner goddess means honestly contemplating whether all three parts of you (mind, body and spirit) are truly in harmony on a regular basis.

A few days ago I had a webinar from one of my business mentors playing while I was cooking my lunch and at the time I didn’t fully understand why. Then, just as I was starting to tune the audio out, she mentioned how she almost lost the rights to use one of her tag lines in a legal proceeding. The slogan she referred to reads as follows: “Remove your blocks so your business rocks!”

Unbeknownst to me, playing that webinar was the best thing I could have done for myself and for y’all. I’ve been pondering why the tag line resonated with me as much as it did, and I realized why: I’m ignoring a major block of my own!

While I absolutely LOVE helping y’all learn about the amazing healing properties of food, I understand now that that is not my only mission. To serve y’all to the best of my ability, I know that I have to stay true to myself and embrace EVERY aspect of a complete Aphrodite Attitude, especially the mental component! I could give you advice on infinite external tools you can use to improve your self-esteem, but if I continue to be negligent in acknowledging that we need to discuss the mental component as well, I am not fully honoring my mission.

From this point forward, I want to use this blog to help you embrace, develop and maintain your Aphrodite Attitude. In order to do that, you have to want to examine the following:

  1. Your willingness to acknowledge that a HEALTHY state of mind allows you to admit you’re flawed (and that your flaws are just as beautiful as your strengths, just like Aphrodite),
  2. Examples of strong, confident women who have the the courage to break down and eradicate the societal compulsion to force every aspect of your life into a perfect box, and
  3. External tools that will reinforce our stronger senses of self-worth, including (but not limited to) balancing your psyche, proper nutrition (weight loss/gain is a bonus!!) & skin care/makeup.

The Natural Cure for Diabetes

Reversing Diabetes Naturally

Y’all know I love to give you the scoop on the incredible foods nature has to offer us, and I’ll continue to do so, but I think I’ll start finding other sources of evidence besides articles on the web.

Over the weekend, I went to a screening of a documentary called “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” and to say was good is the understatement of the millennium! For the film, they found 5 subjects with Type 2 diabetes and 1 subject with Type 1.

All of the subjects met with a Dr. Cousens who introduced them to the raw food lifestyle and had them eat only raw for 30 days. As I’m sure you know, it wasn’t an easy thing to do because of all the sugar we Americans have in our diets: the average American consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar per year!

One man’s story really made me want to break down in tears. Kirt was a 26-year-old African American man from Baltimore, Maryland. He shared a story about how one time he went to the emergency room and the doctors told him his blood sugar level was at 1200; the normal range for blood sugar is between 80-100!!

Kirt impressed me further when he adhered the most to the diet – he gave those 30 days 110% because he knew that that was what was required if he truly wanted to cure his diabetes.

On day one of the program, his blood sugar was about 346 and he was taking 4 to 6 insulin shots a day. By day 30, not only was he able to STOP his insulin, his blood sugar was down to 73! At the end of the movie, Kirt went to his doctor to get the results of some blood work and he was surprised to find that his doctor had reread his file and was going to rediagnose him as a type 1 diabetic and had plans to give him an insulin pump! I’m sure you all know that people with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin – but after a strict 30-day diet of raw foods, his body was totally healed and started making its own insulin!

My moral of the story is, although many doctors mean well, they are definitely undereducated about the power of the food we have available to us. Granted, they take the Hippocratic Oath upon graduating from medical school, but the better musing from Hippocrates is “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”

Awesome Oatmeal

OatmealFrom time to time I get into a food rut. Basically, this is when I’ve found healthy food options that I enjoy (and I’m pretty picky because I have a little bit of a sweet tooth) and I buy them on autopilot, I guess.

Lately, I’ve been having just French toast, pancakes and egg whites for breakfast. Then one day I remembered how my mom would make old-fashioned oatmeal (I thought instant oatmeal was all that and a bag of chips!). So I went to the grocery store and bought a big container of store-brand whole oats.

It could be the middle of the summer and my mom would still make oatmeal for breakfast. After doing a little research I completely understand why. According to Mother Earth Living, oatmeal can do incredible things such as lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and lower the risk of you developing diabetes. These three attributes alone are worth all the diamonds in the world to me because both heart disease and diabetes run in my family.

It’s surprisingly easy to make, but what astonishes me even more is how I can add the most seemingly random ingredients and it always tastes incredible. At first, I only added spices like ginger and cinnamon; then I’d add honey. I can’t wait to go to the grocery store and get a bunch of raspberries, blueberries, cashews, pecan and almonds and see how they can make the oatmeal even better than it always is!

Good thing I listened to my gut and gave the old-fashioned oats a try 🙂

Cinnamon

cinnamon

Cinnamon is an incredible spice that not only brings zesty flavor to your favorite foods, it’s also believed to be a powerful antidote against multiple ailments, including arthritis, diabetes, headaches/migraines, and LDL (bad cholesterol).

Western medicine has yet to commission detailed studies on how this ancient Chinese herb can improve your health, but there are fabulous resources, such as GreenMedInfo, that focus on alternative medicinal therapies like spices and herbs. GreenMedInfo does a fantastic job of differentiating between the two main variants of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon.

Most cinnamon available in the United States is Cassia (milled mainly in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Vietnam); this is the weaker of the two but is still an awesome source of manganese. Manganese helps to build healthy bones and increase your carbohydrate and fat metabolisms. Cassia cinnamon should be avoided if you are taking blood thinners like Coumadin because it contains higher traces of coumarin, a natural blood thinner.

Ceylon comes from India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. This variant is considered the “true cinnamon” because it is sweeter, lighter and more refined than cassia.

Long story short, both kinds of cinnamon will adequately flavor the dishes you use it on, but it’s important to heed the warning about cassia consumption.

Scintillating Scallops

seared scallops

When I was a kid, my mother would make flounder and white rice for me. Unfortunately, I was an extremely picky eater back then and I’d refuse to try other kinds of seafood.

Now that I’m older, my desire to experiment has grown exponentially and I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes: Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Sauce. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly; you can find the original recipe here.

 For the scallops, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of dry, large sea scallops

  • 1 Tbsp Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsps Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 medium shallot, diced

  • ¼ cup of herbs (I like chives, rosemary and parsley)

  • ¼ cup of your favorite liqueur (I like Kahlúa)

  • ¼ cup lime zest

  • Fresh ground black pepper

Quick tip: Chop your herbs and the shallot for the sauce before you start cooking the scallops.

Cooking directions (scallops):

  1. Rinse scallops in cold water then pat dry with paper towels

  2. Warm a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes

  3. Add oil and Smart Balance to the pan → to test if the mixture is hot enough, run your fingers under some cold water then splash it into the oil and Smart Balance. When it’s hot enough, the cold water will instantly boil off

  4. Pat scallops dry once more before placing them in the pan (spread them around the pan for best cooking results)

  5. Season each scallop with your choice of spices and place in the pan to sear

  6. Let each scallop cook for 2 to 4 minutes until nicely browned (you’ll know it’s ready when it’s mostly firm to the touch)

  7. Flip with tongs and repeat searing on the other side

  8. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate (turn the burner down to medium and let the pan cool for about 45 seconds before starting the sauce

Cooking directions (herb-butter sauce):

  1. Melt 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance in the pan

  2. Add shallots to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes

  3. Pour Kahlúa and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes or until it reduces by ½

  4. Mix in herbs and lime zest and reduce heat to low

  5. Add the other 2 Tbsps of Smart Balance to mixture and whisk briskly until it melts completely

  6. Return scallops to the pan and roll them in sauce until warmed through

  7. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Savory and Heart-Healthy Alfredo Sauce

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Every so often, I like to take a day off and unwind from the crazy journey we know as life. When I do, that’s typically when I see a sign that the passion I have for helping women learn to love their bodies and feed it right is what I need to be doing.

Yesterday, I was lounging around my apartment because we were having our umpteenth snow fall of the season and I tuned into Bethenny. One of her guests for the day was an AMAZING woman named Torrie who lost 148 pounds in 3 years. Torrie is amazing because she did it the right way: she healthified her favorite foods so she’d never have to deprive herself of anything.

I found this recipe a while back and it’s an incredible way I can keep one of my “guilty pleasure” – Alfredo sauce – in my culinary repertoire. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses Greek yogurt so I get a nice dose of protein and keep my immune system in tip top shape!

Ingredients:

  • 4oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup Silk soy milk
  • 2Tbsp Smart Balance
  • 2Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Melt the Smart Balance
  3. Add your flour to create a paste
  4. Stir in garlic powder, black pepper, yogurt and milk
  5. Keep cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens
  6. Add Parmesan cheese and stil until melted
  7. Pour over your favorite bowl of pasta and enjoy!